Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell – A Book Review

Blurb:

Michael Kingman has been an outsider for as long as he remembers. The court which executed his father also exiled him and his family. They branded him a traitor, and the nobles who had been his friends turned their backs, prepared to let the legendary Kingman family die on Hollow’s city streets.

Only they survived.

And it should come as no surprise to Hollow Court, or the King, that they’ve been searching for the truth ever since.
History is written by the winners, truth buried beneath lies until it’s Forgotten. Justice seems impossible in a city where the price of magic is a memory. But Michael Kingman is determined to make everyone remember . . .

Author: Nick Martell

Publisher: Gollancz

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Legacy of the Mercenary King #1

Pages: 609

Release Date: 07/05/2020

My Chosen Format: Kindle

My Rating of ‘Kingdom of Liars’: 2 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon, Audible

Review:

I buddy read this with a fellow blogger (Rine from Rine Reads) and she was one of the main reasons for my reading through this as quick as I did. She also enjoyed this a little more than I did, so thankfully it wasn’t a total miss on all accounts.

I’ll start by saying that this was a strange one for me. A very strange one. On the one hand it was an easy read and, because of that, it was somewhat addictive. On the other, it was all over the place and fell prey to so many pit falls that, in the end, I’m just glad it’s over.

I was initially very excited that it was in first person POV as I tend to breeze through those. There’s just something I find easy to devour about these rather than third person. Sadly, my excitement didn’t last for long as it quickly became apparent that I wasn’t going to like the main character. So being stuck with him, and only him for a POV, for 600 pages was going to be a trying affair.

And trying it was. Michael is an ex High-Noble turned conman after his father’s, and by extent his family’s, fall from grace. Well, I say that. He’s a conman for about all of twenty pages. Then he promptly never really adopts the conman guise again. Much like everything else he does in this book, it is very stop-start and never finish.

Kingdom of Liars is littered with subplots and the reader is pretty much hit with them all very early on. Frustratingly, all the subplots are adopted by Michael and very few, if any, are ever seen through. It reads like a video game where the character picks up ALL OF THE SIDEQUESTS, realises he’s woefully under-levelled to complete them so stops half way through and starts another. I swear, the amount of times he would get to within touching distance of finishing a subplot only to stop, decide he’d rather leave it and go home, was infuriating enough that I wanted to bang my head against the wall.

More annoying than that, though, is his ability to do anything. Not right away. He has to say a few magic words and the impossible becomes the trivial. Those magic words: ‘I’m a Kingman, I can do that’. What’s that, Michael needs to defeat a legendary beast whilst not actually bringing a weapon with him? He’s a Kingman, he can do that!

I know, I know, I’m hiding it well. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I didn’t really like Michael. Nor were the characters he meets any better. Some of them were enjoyable, but those were few and far between. The vast majority were a mixture of two dimensional people, background fluff or halfway-formed to very interesting characters. The motivations of characters changed so often it was barely worth keeping up. Some of the changes were utterly radical. One guy pretty much went full super-villain only to go back to being all meek and nice later on.

Great portions of the plot felt shoe-horned as well. Michael witnessed something that was incredibly rare and thought not to be possible. The next chapter, some character he had only just met randomly asked if he’d ever seen that exact thing.

It’s not all bad, though. There is some good. I actually started to enjoy it more near the end and I am vaguely curious as to what happens next. I just feel that there was the bare bones of a really intriguing, and possibly very exciting story, that was bogged down with shoddily written subplots and shoe-horned plot devices. It felt almost patronising in places.

Unless you’re a fan of coincidental meetings and mentionings of very rare and specific things, leading into the appearance of said rare and specific things happening so often that the word ‘coincidental’ has lost all meaning, I’d avoid picking this one up.

4 thoughts on “Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell – A Book Review

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